Stick bug changing room

My stick bug hanging upside down and molting.

My stick bugs are getting pretty huge now.

I’m starting to rethink letting 30 hatch next time around.

They hatched in September and are growing pretty quickly. Some have gotten to be about five inches long already.

Do you know how stick bugs grow? Their skin doesn’t stretch like ours does. In fact, they don’t even have skin – it’s called their exoskeleton or their cuticle. They have to molt or shed in order to grow. Continue reading

Ozzy’s Great Escape

My dog, Ozzy, did this. Ozzy's Great Escape

How?

With his paws and mouth.

Why?

Because he is a freakin’ escape artist and fit his body through that tiny ass hole.

We think it was his fear of abandonment that caused this. Keep in mind that Ozzy was a stray who lived out on the streets for who knows how long and was still not use to the fact that he got a new home, new family and did not have to worry about surviving on his own.

My family was at a soccer game one day when I got the phone call from my neighbor. She said she found our new dog out on the street and would keep him until we returned.

There are a few reasons why some dogs are itching to escape. All dog owners should be aware of those reasons to prevent their pooch from running around the real world unsupervised. Continue reading

Chocolate Thieves

Dogs are like babies. They explore with their mouths.

My puppy, Ringo, took it to the next level when he decided to explore the treasures beyond his reach on top of the dining room table.

One day, when all human supervision was gone, Ringo had the nerve to jump on top of the table and – with the help of Ozzy – polished off a new, unopened box of chocolate chip cookies and a container of chocolate covered almonds.

Costco Chocolate Chip Cookies

Continue reading

Stick bug abortions

Stick bug eggs

Courtesy of Robert Gromadka

Stick bugs are egg-laying machines. They have the ability to lay hundreds of eggs in their adult life – which only lasts a few months.

Stick bug reproduction, however, is not something to be taken lightly. If the eggs are not monitored, taken care of or disposed of correctly, there will be an overpopulation problem.

Think about it like this: I have 30 young stick bugs at the moment. If all of them lay 200 eggs, I’ll end up with 6,000 eggs!

Now imagine if all the eggs hatched? I can barely handle the stick bug parties, let alone try to raise 6,000 nymphs. Continue reading

King of the Castle

Meet my dog, Ozzy. I call him my “old man” because he is about 10 years old and very calm compared to my other dog.

Ozzy

We found him when he was a stray living on my street. My family decided to take him in last Thanksgiving weekend so he wouldn’t be stuck out in the rain. It wasn’t long before we all fell in love with him.

My sisters, Ozzy, and I

Ozzy is a border collie, one of the most intelligent breads out there.

When we found him, he was emaciated – think starving Ethiopian child skinny – and had physical signs of abuse. His tail was cut off at some point in his life, not surgically, so he only has half a tail. Ozzy also has a rib that sticks out on his side. It was broken some time down the line and fused back the wrong way. What happened in his past will always be a mystery, but it was my family’s goal to rescue him and give him a better home and a new life. Continue reading

Party time in stick bug land

I was not able to sleep last night because of how noisy my pet stick bugs were. Call me weird if you want, but I am the proud momma of 30 stick bugs at the moment. I’m working on raising my third generation of stick bugs in my room.

The specific species of stick bugs that I own are scientifically called Baculum extradentatum and originate from Vietnam. They are tropical insects that seem pretty boring on the outside, but once you have to live with them, it’s a different story.Stick bug nymph eating a rose leaf

To sum it up, they look and act like sticks. They even take up a swaying type of movement that mimics twigs in the wind. Some complain that they are boring and don’t do much after watching them for five minutes. Wrong! Once nighttime rolls around and the lights go out, it’s party time in stick bug land.

Stick bugs are nocturnal. It’s easy for predators such as birds to spot sticks moving around during the day, so they do their business when it’s dark. This video shows a very large stick bug, but is a perfect example of how they look and move.

I pack the terrarium with rose leaves, their food of choice. The problem is, when the leaves start to dry out even the slightest bit, you can hear every crunch, bite and rustle made. Imagine lying in bed trying to catch some Zzz’s when all you hear is “crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch,” in your ear. Continue reading

Sugar-crack and feisty birds

My family owns its fair share of pets that live inside, but besides all the house pets, there always seems to be animals that show up at my house or in the backyard. For instance, there’s a group of hummingbirds that have made a home at the Garcia residence.

My mom decided to invest in a hummingbird feeder. She’s always found them to be such cute, petite and harmless animals. Little did she know how vicious those little birds could be.

Hummingbirds are feisty little creatures – true story. It’s only a myth that they are timid.

Hummingbird feeder

After hanging the bird feeder in the backyard, we started to get a few hummingbirds coming back daily for more sugar-water.  There are about five regulars that live in my backyard who rapidly deplete the supply of food my mom puts out. She had to buy a second feeder to avoid overcrowding and to keep them well fed.

Mother had a bright idea to spike the feeder with extra sugar to “re-energize” these birds. Apparently they burn a million calories by flapping their tiny wings 50 to 90 times per second. I think it was her new concoction that inhibited the changes that soon commenced. Continue reading